Homemade Protein Granola Bars

Protein is one of the 3 macronutrients and makes up a large majority of our everyday meals. In fact, it should be incorporated into every meal throughout your day to help build and sustain muscle mass, up to a certain amount (there is an upper threshold to how much our bodies can digest). However, aside from the lean protein sources most of us know and love, protein is probably THE most difficult macronutrient to have in snacks. Let’s be honest, no one wants to have chicken breast in their lunch, dinner AND their snacks, or fish, or beans, etc. 

That’s why so many of us have come to love protein bars! Not only are they convenient (perfect for us busy-bees), but most of them are loaded with protein that doesn’t resemble our lunch or dinner!

However, the problem is that pre-made protein bars for sale at local grocery stores and health food stores tend to be full of other crap. And in some cases, even have ingredients that we can’t pronounce (a really bad sign). 

The solution?
Stick with a brand you trust (we love NAGI) OR make your own, like these delicious granola protein bars!

Homemade Granola Protein Bars
2 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
1 cup mashed banana
⅔ cup vanilla protein powder

1/4 cup apple sauce
1/4 cup peanut butter
½ cup dried fruit 

½ cup chopped nuts (optional)
¼ cup milk of choice
2 tablespoons chia or flaxseeds
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8-inch square pan

2. Mix oats, banana, protein powder, apple sauce, peanut butter, cranberries, nuts, milk, seeds, cinnamon, and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl; spread into prepared pan.
Bake bars until lightly browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Set aside to cool until they set completely, at least 15 minutes. 
​4. Enjoy!

3 Reasons to Make Your Own Protein Bars

1. QUALITY  = When you make your own bars, you have control over what goes in them! No endless list of ingredients. No junk like corn, wheat protein, or low-quality soy. No glycerine, vegetable fats, gums, artificial flavors, etc.

2. FRESHNESS = Homemade protein bars are freshly-made, always! Unlike the bars you find on store shelves which are designed to last on shelf as long as possible and thus contain a bunch of  shelf-life preserving ingredients that our bodies can all can do without.

3. PERFECTION = When you make your own bars, you can tweak their ingredients to match your taste and dietary preferences, your macros, and your appetite. Say you love all chocolate things, then add a ton of cocoa to your bars! Like the orange + chocolate combo? Make some chocolate bars and grate a bit of an orange into your batter. Want lower/carb bars? Use a natural low-carb sweetener. Want them lower in fat? Ditch the nut butters and swap in ingredients like apple sauce and pumpkin puree. Want a smaller snack? Make small bars! Want your bars to be vegan? Use a vegan protein powder! Want to be 100% certain that your bars are gluten-free? Use only certified gluten-free ingredients. The sky’s the limit to what you can do. And your bars will always be so much tastier! No hardness or difficult-to-chew textures.

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